Educating the Healthy Dancer

Dance Medicine

Since 1996, Marin Dance Theatre has become one of the pioneers in developing a complete program for delivering world-class sports medicine for our students. We are committed to the overall health and training of the entire dancer as an athlete and performing artist.

As an integral part of their training, MDT and the Center for Sports Medicine at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in SF have joined forces to create a unique program to keep our dancers in optimal health.

Dance Medicine is directed by James Garrick, MD, one of the nation's renowned sports medicine physicians. All students are evaluated for flexibility and strength and are advanced on the basis of individual readiness. Physical therapists from the staff at Center for Sports Medicine visit the school and are available free of charge to all dancers. (Dance Magazine September 1997 page 96)

As part of the Dance Medicine program, podiatrists from the Center for Sports Medicine make bi- monthly on site visits. Dr Jane Denton evaluates foot and ankle problems and diagnoses  the cause of injury and ways to prevent and correct them.

Health Seminars for Dancers

"Marin Dance Theatre is one of our country's premiere sites for training in dance. Under the direction of master teacher Margaret Swarthout, MDT has introduced countless young people to classical ballet and graduated many students into the ranks of professional ballet. Now the Marin Dance Theatre is assuming another leadership role in the area of dancer health. The new program of nutritional and general health education for young dancers is much needed and will be a wonderful example to schools across the country."

Richard Gibbs, MD, San Francisco Ballet Company

Dr. Gibbs a former professional ballet dancer, has an acute understanding of the total needs of the developing dancers both from the medical perspective and technical demands  as well. He works privately with the students teaching and evaluating conditioning and rehab exercises specifically designed for each dancer's needs. Each of our dancer's have their own individual programs and are overseen to support each activity for correctness and appropriateness.

Dr. Gibbs conducting his seminar.

Some of Our Esteemed Past Participants & Topics

Dr. Richard Gibbs, M.D., San Francisco Ballet Company
Dr. Gibbs will give a talk on injury prevention and treatment for the dancer as well as taking individual questions regarding dance injuries.

Nicole Starbuck, Former soloist San Francisco Ballet Company.
Nicole will share her experience as a professional dancer in one of the most prestigious companies in the world over an eight year period, from apprentice to soloist.

Suzanne Martin, MA, MPT
She is a performing arts physical therapist, educator, researcher and nutritionist and conducted her "Optimal Nutrition" seminar series.

Suzanne Martin has been conducting nutrition instruction for San Francisco Ballet School students and parents annually since 1999.Her presentations are direct, well organized and most importantly, designed to help our students succeed.Jim Sohm, San Francisco Ballet School

Joanna Berman former Principal San Francisco Ballet and Courtney Smith - San Francisco Ballet. "Embracing your Apprentice Year"

Mia Leimkuhler graduate Marin Dance Theatre 2003 - Oregon Ballet Theatre. "My First Year in the Corps with Oregon Ballet Theatre"

Roberta Meyer,  "My Life With Balanchine" Former New York City Ballet dancer Roberta Meyer will discuss her years working with the legendary George Balanchine and his company. She became a renowned ballet teacher and coach and alcohol and drug counselor. She's an author -- one book being about alcoholism and the other being about communication. Mrs. Meyers has conducted communication workshops for individuals, couples, and businesses, designed an alcohol education program for elementary school children, and is a national speaker on both communication and alcoholism and other drug addictions.

In the decades following, she has gone on to becoming a national competitor in ballroom competition as well as the owner of her own ballroom school.

Jessica Johnston, "My First Year Dancing With Ballet West"

Dr. Richard Gibbs, M.D., "Prevention and Care of Dance Injuries", Dr. Gibbs is currently the physician for the prestigious San Francisco Ballet Co. He will give suggestions and practical advice relating to dancer health and nutrition.


The Main Dance Theatre recognizes the need to prepare the young dancer completely for the rigors of a dance career as well as maintaining good health.

All the latest studies addressing total fitness support cross-training for the dancer.

As an adjunct to their daily ballet class, the students at MDT practice yoga postures as a way to maintain flexibility and improve focus.